Victor Addo Biney
Hand-carved masks in West Africa
"The difficult aspect of it was that I had to go to the forest to get the wood I needed and carve the pieces there in the forest, before sending them to the workshop to finish them.""I am a wood carver. I am a quiet person and easy to approach person. Victor Addo Biney is my name, and I was born on the 4th of October 1973 in Accra, Ghana.
"I learnt the art of carving from my uncle, Mr. Nortey Yeboah. I had to stay with my uncle after my parents separated and he put me through school from the resources of his carving business. I used to sit in his workshop and watch him carve. It was fascinating to see how a log of wood could be used to create beautiful objects. This I believe initiated the desire in me to know and learn more about this art.
"After junior high school, I was working on my carving with him in the workshop to improve on my skills and by the time I had moved on to senior high, I had become a master carver. The interest I had derived from carving motivated me to pursue visual arts in senior high school.
"It was difficult for my uncle to pay my senior school fees so I had to start selling the items I was carving to pay my fees and the books I needed. I had to work hard because that was the guarantee for my continuance at school. Due to the fact that I was good at what I did, I used to get some exporters giving me some of their works to produce for them. I earned good income from such contracts.
"The difficult aspect of it was that I had to go to the forest to get the wood I needed and carve the pieces there in the forest, before sending them to the workshop to finish them. What helped me through those difficult moments was the reward for the hard work.
"On completion of senior high school, I built a workshop and continued with my carving venture. My workshop was strategically situated in an area where tourists could stop by to observe us carve and so pick up some of the items we had on display.
"I have trained several people and continue to train others. I also train students in second and third grade in senior school who visit the workshop for assistance with their course work and more. I have trained 25 of them so far.
"I am the president of the Aburi craft village which comprises of 250 artisans. 60% of them are carvers while 40% are retailers and finishers.
"My hopes, plans and dreams are to expand my workshop. My source of inspiration comes from God."